Dear fellow members and friends
24 May 2006
Shoreham Old Tollbridge Ride
Last reminder to register for the Tollbridge ride on 25 June before the 1 June – after which it costs a little more Fred's plink to the entry form on the website is www.geocities.com/fredpipes/css/tollbridge1.pdf.
I've had an e-mail from Sheila saying she hopes to have recovered sufficiently to do the 6 mile ride. If she does, and you're not participating, why not sponsor her? She's at email@example.com. And if she doesn't feel up to it your sponsorship can always be transferred to someone else. What about it?
The Rest (!) of the Summer
As those who came out for the ride (swim?) last Sunday already know, I was planning for us to do another 'hardy annual' – our Chichester Harbour ride next time. But they seem to be digging up the tracks in that direction on the day so I've had to think of an alternative quickly.
As you'll recall from early circulars and consultation, our next ride after 4 June should have been on 18th. But organising a ride on the day of the London-Brighton with bikes excluded from the trains etc etc didn't seem on so we're going to make the Tollbridge ride the following week (25th) and then resume fortnightly from there.
I should be OK for 9 July, Jim has 23 July in hand and then I'm OK (but as usual very open to offers from anyone who'd like to organise a ride) for the two in August. We do need a volunteer for 3 September though. Sounds a long way off but please be thinking about it!
Romney Marsh anyone?
Since we started in 2004 lovers of flat terrain have often suggested a Romney Marsh ride. Until now it's been the time taken to get there that's been the problem, but now with direct trains to Ashford it might be possible. The train to Rye takes 1hr 24mins and it would cost (as near as I can make out) £13.50 for a return. You'd need to catch the 9.20 (arriving Rye at 10.44) to make it worthwhile. This is a possibility for 9 July (otherwise it will be Chichester Harbour – a bit less expensive) but I don't want to organise anything unless I know that's what a reasonable handful at least would like to do. Please let me know.
The Next Ride
Sunday 4 June
Glynde circular – barely 20 miles
From Glynde Station down to the A27 where we'll use the cycle/foot path for a short stretch and then over to Ripe, up to Golden Cross and down to the Yew Tree (not the one you went to on Neil's ride I think) for lunch, Then through Chalvington and Laughton, and a stretch of B road until we return to Glynde by quieter lanes.
Catch the 10.20 from Brighton Station or meet at Glynde Station at 10.37. Direct trains back at 53 minutes past the hour.
Points of Interest
Not a lot to begin with – Ripe and Chalvington are quite pretty villages and the church at Laughton is of venerable age. But then apart from the llamas and alpacas near Glyndebourne we might well stop for a cup of tea at Glynde Place, the late 16th century courtyard house that became the home of the Trevor family (after whom the local pub the Trevor Arms is of course named)
The Last Ride
Sunday 21 May Anne's Report (photos by Joyce)
Wet and Wild –Six cycle sodden Sussex marshes on soggy Sunday
Pevensey Levels are probably the worst place to go for a bike ride when rain is forecast, as Peter Brandon puts it in The Sussex Landscape 'the lowest and most desolate part' but there was an hour when it didn't (or shouldn't) rain and even when it did, the visibility was always good and views extensive. Although there was a lot of mud, only 3 of us fell off our bikes into it and I, luckily, wasn't one of them, though I did make Joyce , who was following behind me, step into a huge puddle, rather than cycle into me, in spite of her desperate pleas to 'keep going'. She gallantly chose to step into the puddle right up to her middle(leg) rather than ride into my bike and knock us both off into the huge puddle! Thanks Joyce.
John, Anne, Jeff, Jim and Ian
Sustrans' beautiful Cuckoo Trail sheltered and welcomed us with gorgeous smells of may and cow parsley. It was new to John and a joy to all. Soon the real adventurous bit began as we headed out through muddy lanes to the Levels. Jim was the first to fall as he careered through the deeply rutted and puddled track, then splashed down. John soon followed. Both had soft landings, unlike Jeff, who fell on hard road later, thanks to a selfish car driver who virtually pushed him into the gutter on a narrow road lined with deeply deceptive, wet gutted gutters. Ian, Joyce and Anne did more pushing than riding, but that was fun and challenging too as some lanes were more puddle than track.
Jeff looking happy just after his fall
Out on the Levels at either Horse-eye, or Down Level or Chilley (from the Anglo-saxon; eg = island,) the landscape looks more Norfolk waterland, fen than the Sussex to which we are accustomed. We are indeed, entirely surrounded by water; deep ditches on either side of our winding track separate us from herds of bullocks. John and I see, what he suggests may be a marsh harrier (I think that's what he said). It swooped low over the reeds and marshes searching for prey. Joyce and I saw a motionless heron and tried to distinguish it from the more ubiquitous swans.
Young bullocks peering at us across the ditch
The Levels (we could not decide whether that was a swan or a heron)
Then I saw what at first looked like a white post, but up closer, when it moved, was definitely another heron. Yellow flag irises adorned the banks, as well as nettles, bluebells, reeds and bullrushes. We attracted the attention of curious, or bored, young bullocks, who cantered up to the other side of the deep ditches and stared at us. The final field held an unwelcome surprise for me as there were plenty of bullocks, but no longer ditches separating them from us. Indeed some huge, horned beasts were settled right on our track. Dr Ian had to show them who was the master Bullock of the herd and, fortunately, they seemed to defer to his greater knowledge, though I hurtled off, taking the lead for once , expecting the lesser bullocks to regroup and recharge, like lumbering 4x4s, when our backs were turned.
A very nice house near Huckney (?)
We saw a few geese guzzling grain, the Dog House (c.1600 – lucky dog) and the charming Hankham Hall and finally, the dry, warm sanctuary of the pub at Stone Cross, but, unfortunately, lost Jim. He had taken a detour to a dead end, but finally all reunited in the pub and I was able to wring out my socks and eat an enormous, warming meal.
In the pub
Rain was still driving down horizontally as we left the pub so Ian gave us the option of a short cut to Polegate, but Joyce opted for the full, original route and we set off again 'singing in the rain'... Back at the Cuckoo Trail we were offered the tea-rooms, but still felt too full so had 12 minutes to dash for the direct train home. We dashed but the barrier was down and we were the wrong side of it and no way of crossing. However, the Lewes train seemed to follow quite swiftly, and, in spite of fiendishly unhelpful Lewes station staff and signage, managed to get ourselves and bikes over the bridge for the Brighton train.
Cycling in the rain
Wonderful to be able to escape to such a remote and tranquil area, away from roads, smelly, noisy cars and fill our lungs with scented, springtime air, enjoy the sweet, refreshing rain, gladdening birds, gardeners and Southern Water alike... Pity that Fred wasn't there to photograph the rare marsh harrier, herons and horned beasts, as Joyce's digital snaps of them disappeared. [did they? – Fred] Thanks to Ian for a fine day out amid the fens.